How to Fix a Leaking Pipe

In this article, we will talk about how to patch, repair, or replace various types of water supply lines. In all cases, it is best to shut off the water supply.

If you’re fortunate enough to have access to the pipes in a crawl space or basement, you can easily turn the disaster into another triumph.

Different Pipe Materials Use Different Leak Repair Methods

1. Galvanized iron pipe – A device called a pipe sleeve clamp works well to stop a leak. The gadget involves a rubber patch and two sleeve parts held together by nuts and bolts. When properly tightened, the pressure against the pad stops the leak. This method can also be used on copper pipe.

2. Make your own patch – Use a worm gear hose clamp to apply pressure to a section of old auto inner tube.

3. Epoxy glue may be a temporary patch that can last forever! There is a plumber’s epoxy putty that you mix by kneading between your hands. It works best if all the pipe surfaces are dry and when the adhesive is given adequate time to set up.

leaking pipe How to Fix a Leaking Pipe

4. Copper pipe – If a copper pipe joint has come loose, copper can be resoldered.

5. Threaded pipe is usually made of galvanized steel. The best patch may be to remove the damaged area, using a hacksaw and wrench. Then replace the section with two shorter threaded pipes plus a device called a “union”. The total combined length of the replacement, including the union, should be the same as the old pipe. So, do the math!

Installing the union requires using two wrenches. One tightens the ring nut while the other holds the exposed union nut. (If this sounds strange, you’ll easily understand it once you have the union in hand.)

PVC plastic pipe isn’t acceptable for potable water in a few local plumbing codes. Where it is OK, it’s great. PVC can handle cold water and CPVC can be used for hot and cold. It is lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to use. It is easily cut with a hacksaw but there are PVC pipe cutters that are better. Burrs are easily removed with a pocketknife. Joining the pipe with fittings is done with a solvent and adhesive that are brushed on (the brush is usually included with the lid of these two products).

Plastic pipe can be joined to any other type of pipe because there are transition fittings.

Most homeowner’s policies cover the leaking problem, including repairs. However, don’t let them come in and tear into your foundation. A better repair is to install new pipe in tunnels under the slab. If this is acceptable under the code, pressure your insurance company to do it this way. They will resist because it’s more costly than the old jackhammer way-but the jackhammer method can damage the slab, and that could mean bigger problems!


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